Women’s Institute Cookery School, Denman College, Oxfordshire
Hidden away in the picturesque Oxfordshire village of Marcham, is Denman College, a beautiful Georgian mansion with 17 acres of grounds. It’s home to the Women’s Institute’s own cookery school and the good news is that it’s open to all.
- Do the Baking Weekender
- Cookery courses
- Lifestyle and craft courses
- Specialist talks
Learn to Cook With the Women’s Institute
Denman College, the official name for the Women’s Institute’s Cookery School, seems to be a well kept secret. You can come here for a day, evening or residential course and they’re open to everyone – non WI members just pay a bit extra. It’s easily accessible by train (the college offers a free taxi service from both Oxford and Didcot stations). The facilities are excellent with 12 workstations and best of all, they do all the laborious preparation such as weighing out ingredients so that you can spend more time cooking.
Go on a Baking Weekender
The programme of cookery courses is varied, changing with the seasons and covering everything from artisan bread-making, cheese-making, French patisserie, world street food, family baking days, edible gifts and slow cooker secrets. As you’d expect, there’s a jam day and baking is high on the agenda so fans of the Great British Bake Off will be in baking heaven here (the icing on the cake, Mary Berry came to speak last year). If you’ve ever tried Nigel Slater’s delicious beetroot cake recipe in his book Tender, you might fancy their course on baking with vegetables.
Be a Foodie Gardener
Foodie Gardeners can take ‘The Good Life’ course aimed at budding Toms and Barbaras who want to make the most of their kitchen garden or allotment. Other recent gems have included ‘Food and Flowers’, a day with Edd Kimber, the 2010 winner of The Great British Bake Off and Chelsea gold medal winner, Anna Steven. The programme changes regularly so do check their website for the latest information.
- Bring freezer blocks, a cool bag and food containers so you can take any food home with you
- All courses are suitable for beginners and the minimum age is 18 years old
- The school also runs lifestyle and craft courses and regularly invites inspiring women to speak such as Oxford’s pottery queen, Emma Bridgewater
- Denman College has 69 ensuite rooms so you can stay on site and enjoy the lovely grounds
WHERE TO STAY IN OXFORD
Old Bank Hotel
Situated in the heart of historical Oxford, The Old Bank offers luxury rooms and a buzzy brasserie.
Rooms from £189 a night.